Adding insulation to your home can seem like a big expense, especially if you have to hire a contractor. But have you considered what it costs you by not adding more insulation to your home? Every month you are wasting money on your heating and cooling costs.
We’ve found five places you can add insulation to your home that will result in a reduction in your monthly heating bill.
Adding insulation to your home is a sure-fire way to save energy and money. According to the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling make up more than 50% of a household’s yearly energy use. But better insulating your home, you could lower your monthly energy bill and have more money in your pocket.
But what is the best place to add insulation to your home? We’ve found five ways you can better insulate your home so you can be on your way to lower monthly energy bills.
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We all know that heat rises. So one of the easiest and most effective places to add insulation is to your attic. Before you start, you can check to see if there is enough insulation there already. Just quickly measure how much insulation you have up there. While you’re there, take a minute to make sure your attic door is properly insulated and sealed.
Once you know how much insulation, you can compare that to the recommended R-value for your region. If you aren’t sure what your R-value is, then check out this map for ENERGYSTAR.
If you find your attic lacks insulation, you can either hire a contractor to install more or do it yourself. If you opt to go the DIY route, then rolls and batts are the easiest. Just add more layers on top of the existing insulation. Just be careful. If you crush or compress the rolls, they will be less effective. You also probably want to wear protective clothing.
If you opt to use a professional contractor, you have more options available. You can even decide to insulate the ceiling rather than the attic floor. While more expensive, it will be more effective- saving more energy and more money.
You don’t just lose heat out the top of your house. Cold can seep into your basement or crawl space stealing the precious warmth from your home. Again, like your attic, you can remedy this easily by adding more insulation. The truth is – it’s really hard to have too much insulation anywhere in your home.
You have several choices when it comes to insulating your basement. If the space will remain unfinished, you can just insulate the ceiling. Ceilings can be tricky, though. Basement ceiling uses contain pipes, wires, and fittings that can be hard to workaround.
Another option is to insulate the basement walls. If you insulate the wall, then you don’t need to insulate the ceiling as well. The wall insulation will provide plenty of energy savings.
Your final option is to insulate your floor. Floor insulation can help prevent that cold from seeping up out of the ground and giving you a chill. If you live in a cold climate and plan to finish your basement floor, insulation will guarantee you warm toes in the winter.
Adding insulation to walls can be tricky if you aren’t planning on a full remodel. But just because it’s tricky doesn’t mean you can’t do it. And wall insulation can save you money and help you have a quieter home.
If you don’t already have insulation in your walls, a contractor can come in and add it. Depending on what you are looking for, you can add either loose fill or foam insulation to existing interior cavity walls. A professional contractor will simply make a small hole in the drywall, add the insulation, and then seal it up.
Rigid insulation is better for exterior and solid walls. If you plan or removing the siding on your home, then it is a good time to look into adding extra exterior insulation.
We talked about insulating your basement floor, but what about other floors? You should insulate your ground floor and any floors that are above unheated spaces, like garages. But as a general rule, you don’t need to worry about insulating the floors in the upper stories of your home.
If your house is built on a concrete foundation, you can use rigid foam insulation. You can install rigid foam beneath your flooring. On the other hand, if you live in an older house with a suspended timber floor, you may need to lift the floorboards and install your insulation between the joists.
A drafty house is a sure sign you are wasting energy. You can use spray foam insulation to seal any drafty area you may have around window or door frames. Also, make sure to check your electrical and plumbing fittings. These are other areas that let valuable heat escape from your home.
Once you have decided where you are going to insulate next, you need to decide which type of insulation you will use. The different types of insulation vary in cost, installation, and application. So let’s take a look at the differences.
Rolls and batts, collectively referred to as blankets, are probably what come to mind when you think of insulation. Fluffy pink stuff that resembles cotton candy all rolled up. Typically these are made of fiberglass or mineral wool but natural options, like sheep’s wool, are available.
Easily installed, batts and rolls fit perfectly between the studs and floor and attic joists in your home. They are economical, and if you’re a handy person, you can save more money by installing them yourself.
Loose-fill insulation can be any of a number of insulating materials. It refers more to the method of insulation than the type. With loose-fill, special machines blow fiber or pellets into your wall. This method works well in odd-sized spaces and places with lots of pipes and wires. It also works if you are looking to add insulation to existing walls space without doing a complete remodel.
You can choose from fiberglass, mineral wool, or cellulose insulation if you are planning on installing loose-fill insulation. Cellulose is one of the most affordable insulating materials making this a popular money-saving choice.
Rigid foam is popular for exterior walls, basements walls, and certain attic applications. It has a significantly higher R-value than other types of insulation, but it comes with a corresponding increase in cost. Made from polystyrene, rigid foam boards also help prevent moisture from entering your home.
If you like the idea of rigid foam boards but prefer a more natural option, check out rigid cork boards. Again a more expensive option but rigid cork boards can provide effective insulation in many of the same ways as polystyrene- only more eco-friendly.
Foam in place is another option for awkward spaces and retrofits. You can buy it in small cans to seal gaps in your home. However, if you want it in your walls or attic, you will need to hire a professional.
Specialized equipment sprays the foam in place. Then the foam expands. What happens next depends on the type of foam it is. The most effective of the two types of foam is closed cell foam. With closed cell foam, as it expands, bubbles are filled with a certain gas. This gas increases the insulative properties of the foam.
The other type of foam is open cell foam. In this type of foam, the bubbles fill with air rather than gas. While air is still an effective insulator, it is not as good as the gas in closed cell foam. Closed cell foam is one of the most effective insulators you can buy.
The only downside to foam in place insulation is the potential off-gassing from the chemicals used. However, new plant-based products are on the market, providing a healthier option if you want to use foam insulation.
If you are looking to save money and be more energy efficient, insulation is an easy choice to make. As you can see, there are lots of ways you can improve the insulation in your home, especially if you have an older home.
Begin with your attic or basement. Adding insulation there will make sure the heat is escaping directly to the outside. Then check any area that may be close to unheated spaces. Second story rooms above unheated garages, that sort of thing. And when it comes to interior walls, remember, insulation doesn’t just work for heat- it works for sound too. You can have a warmer, quieter house.
Regardless of where you decide you want to add your insulation, just do it. Don’t wait any longer to lower your monthly energy bill and start saving money.